June 8, 2009 12:07 PM
Caught On Tape: Jersey Cop Beats Unarmed Man
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PASSAIC, N.J. (CBS/AP) A New Jersey police officer has come under fire as a video tape has been released which shows him beating an unarmed man standing on a street corner.
Surveillance video from May 29 shows Ronnie Holloway waiting outside a restaurant shirtless when a police car pulls up. A female officer asks Holloway to zip up his sweatshirt. As seen from the surveillance video, Holloway appears to comply. Shortly after, Officer Joseph Rios III exits the cruiser, throws Holloway to the pavement, punches him several times then swings at him with his baton. Rios then throws Holloway against the hood of his cruiser and strikes him twice more with the baton.
Holloway, who was not seriously injured, denied any wrongdoing. He was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and wandering with the intent to buy narcotics. Holloway struggles with mental illness and takes medication for schizophrenia. From the video, it is not clear if Holloway was looking for drugs or if officers were aware of his mental condition.
"The video of this incident is extremely disconcerting, but I urge the community to withhold judgment until a complete investigation of the incident is concluded and reviewed by independent law enforcement officials," Mayor Alex Blanco said in a statement issued late Saturday.
Officer Rios, a seven-year veteran, has not been charged in the incident, but has been assigned to desk duty.
Passaic police had no comment at this time.